Multi-million pound plans for a major development including more than 400 homes in Fife are again hanging in the balance, The Courier has learned.
Up to 420 homes, a business park, food and non-food retail units and a crèche form the ambitious masterplan for Westwood Park at Glenrothes.
Logistical issues regarding the timing of construction work at the site, just off the A92 near Bankhead roundabout, appeared to have been resolved last year.
However, another snag has now emerged after agents acting for developer Landteam Scotland called on Fife Council to reduce the sum being sought towards transportation improvements.
Planning permission in principle was granted three years ago and a section 75 legal agreement suggested developers should pay £3,300 per housing unit towards infrastructure costs.
Agents Shepherd and Wedderburn have now written to the local authority arguing a change in planning guidance since means there is “no longer any justification in policy or guidance” for that level of payment – arguing the figure should be revised down to £1,302 per dwelling.
A spokesperson added the move – which could see the council lose out on more than £839,000 if all the homes are built – is now viewed as a precondition of an already agreed deal to sell all the residential land at Westwood Park to Keepmoat Homes.
“Reducing the level of the transportation contribution to mirror the terms of the 2017 guidance will enable the residential development to come forward in circumstances where there has been limited interest previously which will in turn cross-subsidise the funding of the business park and release receipt of education and transportation contributions,” a supporting statement noted.
Construction of the Westwood Park project, between Stenton and Thornton, is likely to take about a decade, and the first phase of housebuilding would take place in the south-east corner of the application site, next to Blackwood Road. There would be further housebuilding on the western side of the land, next to Stenton.
If the cut in contribution is agreed by Fife Council, it is thought work could start on site in the spring of 2019.
Kevin Treadwell service manager at Fife Council, said: “The developers originally signed the legal agreement based on contributions as set in the Planning Obligations Guidance (2015).
“This document was updated last year and the 2017 Planning Obligations Guidance has reduced the contributions required in particular instances.
“As the development has not yet commenced, the developers of Westwood Park have applied to revise their legal agreement so that their contributions are aligned to the most up-to-date guidance.”